How to Create a Weekly Rhythm
As leaders, we have aspirations to be incredibly productive every week. We come to work determined to get ahead and take care of what is most important. By the end of the week, many of us are left wondering why we didn’t get the results we were hoping for. So what is the secret to a successful week?
A few years back I struggled to stay on top of things, which kept me from getting ahead. I remember taking a self-evaluation test where I was asked to rate myself on how organized I was on a scale of 1–10. I gave myself a raving 3, only because I felt confident—confident my organizational skills needed a little attention.
This evaluation was given to me by Building Champions, whom I had hired for personal executive coaching. This was one of the best investments of my life. In the beginning stages, they had me create a life plan, which I have since renamed as my personal life blueprint. If you don’t have a personal life blueprint, I would encourage you to complete one of those first.
Once I became clear on what I wanted in my life, it was time to make it happen by scheduling it. Your desires will not become a reality unless you make time for them. If you really want to know how you spend your time, you can do a write-down for three days, listing how you spend every half hour. Yes, this is a grueling, yet eye-opening exercise. Building Champions has a time-blocking document you can use here.
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Now it is time to create your desired time block, which I have renamed ‘desired weekly rhythm’. The weekly rhythm shows how you would spend your time if you could control it. While there are many unforeseen circumstances that can come up in a week, many weeks are normal.
The rhythm is broken up into thirty-minute segments, showing how you would spend your time in an ideal week. There are a few keys to creating a weekly rhythm that will help you get the most out of your week:
1. Plan your day’s theme.
The focus is important and having your day’s theme can be a huge boost to productivity. Instead of jumping from one unrelated task to another, you can get into the groove of working on one aspect of your job. You will notice that I have my theme listed at the top of the spreadsheet. The theme is my primary focus of the day.
2. Schedule your personal priorities.
• Them time: This is the time you have scheduled for your relationships. This should include time for dates with your spouse, time with your children, and friends.
• Renew time: These are the activities that renew you and keep you at peak performance. These could include your time with God, exercise, reading, outdoor activities, etc.
3. Schedule your high payoff activities.
These are the activities that Stephen Covey would place in quadrant II, as described in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These activities will differ from person to person. High payoff activities may include vision casting, coaching your team, recruiting, managing sales relationships, top-level meetings, appointment setting, lead generation, etc.
4. Schedule the heavy lifting early in the week.
If you don’t knock out the tougher aspects of your job early in the week, you will likely procrastinate with those tasks. If you are like me, it is better to get the hard projects done first.
5. Schedule time to work in the business and on the business.
• In-time is when you are working in the day-to-day operation of your organization when you are in the thick of things.
• On-time is when you walk away from working in the business to working on the business. This may include strategic planning, brainstorming, or working on a new initiative or product. In some settings, it can be easier to focus on working on the business at the end of the week when the other work is completed.
This process may take a few times to get down, but the return on investment is amazing. I have been able to free up an entire day of work per week for on-time.
More importantly, my family and priorities are not being neglected. It is an incredible feeling to know that you are spending time on the things that matter most, and still being productive in your organization.
If you are looking for further help. creating a weekly blueprint for your life is one of the steps I take my coaching clients through, Do yourself a favor and schedule a few hours to make a weekly rhythm. You can download a template here.
How would following a weekly rhythm be beneficial for you?